Tuesday 14th July – 24th meeting of 2015
A visit to Fulham Palace was our plan for today so after eight of us met at Charing Cross we took the underground to Putney Bridge. We had discovered Fulham Palace on one of our walks from the London Walks book and decided to make a return visit and explore the Palace.
A short walk from the station and we were in The Bishop’s Park which is the ground surrounding the Palace and runs alongside the river. The main entrance into the palace is through The Tudor Courtyard of which the buildings are the oldest part of the Palace. There was a lovely water fountain in the centre.
Once inside we were greeted by a volunteer who gave us leaflets and information on the opening times. The next stop was The Drawing Room Cafe a delightful area with seating inside and out. We had our coffee and a discussion on our holiday trip for next year!
From here we went out to the gardens and into the Knot Garden which is replanted in its original 1830s design. A beautiful area with different plants and flowers. Many different varieties, colours, heights and sizes. There was also large green houses with gardeners busy at work. Outside of the Knot Garden was a large area of garden which was divided into sections along the lines of allotments. Many people were working here, gardeners, volunteers and apprentices. Here were grown flowers, vegetables, fruit and many apple trees. A hive of industry and as many of our group are keen gardeners they found it very interesting!
Fulham Palace from 704 until 1973 was the summer retreat for the Bishops of London and has the marks of the times with 15th century wood gate, Tudor Courtyard, Georgian drawing rooms and Victoria Chapel. The grounds are of considerable botanical importance and Bishop Compton (1695-1713) was a keen collector of plants. The site is now managed by Fulham Palace Trust who have restored much of the buildings and gardens and are now restoring the Walled Garden. Entry into the Palace is free.
We went back into the Palace passing the Cardinal’s Tree a large old tree with carvings on it. Two chairs, a cat sitting on books, an ugly face and suspended at the very top a cardinal! Quite bizarre!
We started our tour in the chapel. It was beautiful with stained class windows, a Salviati mosaic and paintings covering the whole of each side of the chapel depicting different scenes from the bible and painted straight onto the bricks. The Great Hall and Bishop Sherlock’s room both had very grand fireplaces. The Museum had many paintings, artifacts and exhibits all telling the story of the Palace. The Porteus Library, once a chapel, now houses the Museum shop. This is very tranquil and interesting area in a part of London that we have not visited and seen much of!
We walked along the river to get back to Putney Bridge passing many cyclists, joggers and runners all enjoying the views of the park and river.
The journey home was good albeit that we did get on the wrong train at one point but soon realised and quickly changed trains! A very good morning was had by all!!